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Conservation Tillage

Conservation Tillage is any system that leaves about a third of the soil covered after planting. This includes no-till / strip-till, ridge-till and mulch till. Management decisions to consider include: crop rotation, soil condition, equipment, weed control, nutrient management. Most importantly, you must consider the BOTTOM LINE. If you properly manage the aforementioned management decisions, conservation tillage will improve your bottom line. Best of all, conservation tillage keeps fertilizer nutrients, topsoil, and synthetic chemicals out of our streams, creeks and lakes. And...ultimately our water supply.

Do you still question whether or not your profit can still be competitive with conventional tillage? Well, here are some examples: Yields are as good, if not better than reduced or intensive tillage systems when attention is paid to management details. Unless you are utilizing possible niche markets, conservation tillage is your best option for increasing the bottom line.

Soil moisture is optimized by improved infiltration and increased organic matter. Tillage reduces available moisture by about 1/2" per trip over the field. And with unstable, unpredictable weather patterns, every drop of H2O counts.

Valuable time is saved. On a 1000 acre farm an additional 100 hours are needed for every pass (example based on 18' disk and 160 Hp four wheel drive tractor). Take that time to explore other real food marketing opportunities in our ever growing, populated world.

Reduces fuel consumption. No-till can reduce fuel use by 3.5 gallons / acre compared to intensive tillage.

Reduces machinery wear. Less machinery wear means fewer pieces need to be replaced. Economists report this amounts to $5 / acre reduction in costs.

Conservation Buffer

What is a Conservation Buffer?

In short, buffers are a common sense way to protect the environment and demonstrate a commitment to conservation. They're best described as a small area or strip of land in permanent vegetation that's designed to slow water runoff, improve water and air quality, provide shelter and stabilize areas next to streams, lakes and rivers.

Filter Strip

A strip of vegetation used to slow water runoff from a field. These strips trap sediment, fertilizer nutrients, synthetic pesticides and herbicides, pathogens and other pollutants before they reach a river, lake or stream.

Filter Strip

Grass Waterway

These strips of grass are planted on areas of fields where water is concentrated as it runs through or off the fields. They are used primarily to prevent and control gully erosion. They are also used to act as a filter, trapping sediment and other pollutants.

Grass Waterway

Field Windbreak

This practice involves 2 or more rows of evergreen trees to reduce soil erosion from wind, protect field crops and livestock, and conserve soil moisture.

Field Windbreak

Riparian Buffer

This buffer acts in a similar manner to the grass Filter Strip. However, it utilizes streamside plantings of trees and shrubs that provide habitat for wildlife, reduce water temperature, and sequester carbon from our atmosphere.

Risparian Buffer

To learn how to add these practices to your farm operation, visit the Conservation Reserve Program site.

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